Corneal cross-linking (CCL)

Corneal cross-linking is a treatment for keratoconus.

What does corneal cross-linking involve?

Keratoconus has traditionally been treated with gas permeable (hard) contact lenses. These are often uncomfortable and are not suitable for everyone. They also don’t prevent the keracotonus developing. Up to 25% of cases will require a corneal transplant.

Corneal cross-linking (CCL) is designed to prevent keratoconus from worsening and preserve the existing level of eyesight. It’s generally recommended for patients whose condition has been diagnosed early enough.

Step 1: Your in-depth consultation

Following a detailed assessment, your Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon will discuss the best course of treatment for you. The consultant will be a corneal specialist and will be the same person who carries out your procedure and your checks at follow-up appointments.

Step 2: During your corneal cross-linking procedure

CCL uses vitamin B2 (riboflavin) in the form of highly specialised eye drops and ultra-violet light to stabilise the cornea and actively prevent the condition from progressing. This causes a positive reaction within the corneal tissues, tightening the bonding between the collagen fibres within them and improving their ability to retain the ideal shape of the cornea.

Step 3: After your corneal cross-linking treatment

Your consultant will provide you with anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drops. You should rest quietly for the remainder of the day, either sleeping or with your eyes closed in a darkened room. Your consultant will see you for a follow-up consultation to check on your progress, assess the results and answer any questions.

The aim of corneal cross-linking is to halt the progression of keratoconus and irregular changes in corneal shape.

Following corneal cross-linking, patients might enjoy life with glasses but without the need for contact lenses, while others can see with a soft contact lens rather than a gas permeable one. Others may continue to wear gas permeable lenses, but find them more comfortable. A small proportion may be unable to report any improvement but still benefit from keratoconus not progressing.

Step 4: Your aftercare

It is important for you to be reviewed by a corneal specialist following your surgery. Your consultant will see you for a follow-up consultation to check on your progress, assess the results and answer any questions you may have. You will be provided with an emergency contact number so that if you do experience any unexpected symptoms, you can contact us.

Am I suitable for corneal cross-linking?

Corneal cross-linking (CCL) is a treatment for keratoconus. It’s now the preferred treatment over gas permeable contact lenses, as it’s a one-off procedure that can prevent the keratoconus from progressing further.

CCL uses specialised vitamin B2 eye drops and ultra-violet light to stabilise the cornea. It may be a suitable treatment for you if:

  • A scan of your corneal shape shows that your keratoconus is getting worse
  • You’re at particularly high risk of your keratoconus getting worse
  • You’re not affected by natural, age-related cross-linking

It is worth noting that CCL treatment is not often recommended for patients in their mid-30s and above, as keratoconus usually stops getting worse by this age.

At Optegra, we understand that every case is different, which is why it is our ophthalmic surgeons who will make the final decision on your eligibility. If they do find that cross-corneal linking does not fit your eye health needs, they will be able to offer you more suitable options.

Find out whether CCL is right for you today by booking a private, no-obligation consultation with one of our leading specialists. Alternatively, you can attend one of our open evenings where we can answer all of your general queries.

The cost of Corneal Cross-Linking at Optegra

Optegra adheres to an open pricing policy, meaning that we always aim to give our patients simple, easy-to-understand costs, so that they aren’t hit with any unexpected extras.

Many of our treatments have a fixed, all-inclusive price. However, as CCL treatment will vary from one patient to the next, we highly recommend meeting with one of our specialists who will be able to give you a more definitive cost.

We firmly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to have good vision, which is why we offer a range of pricing options and finance plans to suit every need and budget. Give us a call or book a private consultation today to find out how we can help you.

Corneal cross-linking customer reviews

At Optegra, we’re dedicated to ensuring that your corneal cross-linking treatment goes as smoothly as possible. We appreciate that you will have a lot of questions about your treatment before you start, so we’re here to help answer any queries or concerns you may have, so that you feel comfortable about your procedure.

Following a detailed assessment with one of our corneal specialists, you’ll have a discussion about the best course of treatment for you. From start to finish you’ll have the same consultant, who will carry out your assessment and your procedure, as well as your aftercare. We know that seeing a familiar face will help give you peace of mind, so you’ll have a single point of contact throughout your experience with Optegra.

Following your treatment, you will be taken to our recovery suite so you can rest. When you’re discharged, you’ll be given an emergency contact number in case you experience any unexpected symptoms. We’re here for you, 24/7.

A follow-up consultation will then take place a few weeks later. This will allow your consultant to check on your progress and give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

It is this dedication to customer service that has afforded us the honour of being named the nation’s most-trusted eye health group, as voted by our patients. But don’t just take our word for it, find out what they have to say about their experiences corneal cross-linking treatment.


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